Presented by The Dallas Morning News

Last year Irving had more net office leasing than either West Plano or Frisco.

But it hasn’t made as many business headlines.

That could change, as companies scouting for affordable, plentiful office space take a look at Irving, and Las Colinas specifically.

“There’s a lot of value out there and with the DART rail line now going to

D/FW Airport, it has made Las Colinas more attractive,” said Greg Biggs with commercial real estate firm JLL. “The access to the airport is still pretty important for companies.”

Changes at two large Las Colinas office buildings could bring more tenants to the area, too.

NEC Corp. of America just rented an Irving office building at 3929 W. John Carpenter Freeway near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where it will relocate its U.S. headquarters.

With NEC moving to the Royal Ridge V building, its current office campus on State Highway 161 in Las Colinas will be available for other tenants.

NEC has been in the two-building complex since 2000, when it relocated from Melville, N.Y.

New York-based Fortis Property Group has owned the buildings for almost 10 years.

NEC had been pondering the move for more than a year.

“They looked at a lot of options and thoroughly reviewed the market,” said Bill McClung of Cushman & Wakefield, who worked on the lease.

Fortis Property Group will now be seeking a new tenant for the 526,000-square-foot office complex. “It’s an amazing corporate campus close to the airport,” said Fortis CEO Jonathan Landau. “It’s a beautiful building that’s been maintained in like-new condition.

“We are not looking to chop this up but looking to lease it to a large corporate user,” Landau said. “There isn’t really another option for a tenant that needs more than 300,000 in Las Colinas unless they build a building.”

New owners of the former Caltex House tower in the Las Colinas Urban Center are remodeling the 1980s building to bring in more tenants.

“We have almost 160,000 square feet available — one of the largest available spaces in the area,” said Chuck Sellers of Peloton Commercial Real Estate, which is marketing the property at 125 E. John Carpenter Freeway.

Sellers said the new owner plans to spend about $3.7 million on improvements.

“There were several blocks of space available 18 months ago,” he said. “Now in the Urban Center there are only a couple of blocks of space larger than 50,000 square feet.”

The lack of large office vacancies has already caught the eyes of developers.

“We are working on a couple of opportunities over there,” said Greg Fuller, COO of Plano-based developer Granite Properties. “I believe we will see more construction in Las Colinas.”

Builders are already doing office projects north of Las Colinas along LBJ Freeway.

Stream Realty Partners last week broke ground on the first phase of its two-building, 301,000-square-foot Connection Park complex on Freeport Parkway. The speculative development is being built in partnership with Alex Brown Realty.

And Myers & Crow Co. has completed a 153,000-square-foot office in the same area on Regent Boulevard.

“It’s finished and we are showing it to tenants,” said developer Marc Myers. “Activity in the area is improving and there are a couple of big office deals — over 100,000 square feet — in the market.”

Billingsley Co.’s huge Cypress Waters development just north of LBJ Freeway at Belt Line is attracting major office tenants.

While the largest chunk of that project is in Dallas, 7-Eleven is building its 325,000-square-foot headquarters in the Irving section of Cypress Waters.

And Billingsley is competing for other office deals armed with economic incentives from the city of Irving.

“Cypress Waters has been very successful and will continue to attract business,” JLL’s Biggs said.

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